This Saturday I drove to Indianapolis to attend the second annual Gluestick 2017, Indianapolis’s zine and small publishing festival. Held at the historic Irving Theater, Gluestick featured zines, comics, prints, and limited circulation books from publishing companies and individuals from Indianapolis, Bloomington, Chicago, Evansville, and other towns and cities in the region. Almost fifty vendors packed into the repurposed theater to sell zines and chit chat with the impressive crowds of local punks, artists, writers, activists, and otherwise like minded people, many of whom had traveled from around the surrounding area to check out the thriving regional zine scene. I absorbed as much as I could, spent a bit too much money, and took home a ton of zines. The following are highlights from my haul.
People in Clothes
While Bloomington-based zinester Darcy Striker specializes in birthday zines, I was drawn to People in Clothes because of its ethnographic focus. In this one-off zine, Striker focuses on the way that people adorn themselves. “When I walk around Bloomington, Indiana I see a sense of congruity in dress and I wonder – is this conscious? Why and how do self-identifying hippies/punks/yuppies/etc. end up looking similar? Or even if there are differences, there still seem to be structure and certain lines not crossed/And how do I, as a cis-queer-femme woman view things differently than others?” Darcy took to the streets of Bloomington (and a few other places) to ask these questions. Unsurprisingly, she got some interesting answers. Flipping through pages of interviews, Striker lets individuals explain in their own words how they adorn themselves in order to stand out, blend in, or connect to other people with similar interests and identities.
On How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Worry!
This comic/zine by Chicago zinester Lizzy Tiritilli is about coming to terms with being an extroverted person who is dealing with anxiety and depression. Honest and often profoundly funny, readers follow the protagonist on her journey of self-discovery. As each panel progresses, we learn more about the protagonist as she gets to know, attempts to “fix” and ultimately learns to understand and manage her mental health on a day-to-day basis. This comic/zine is brimming with both relatable experiences and helpful advice for readers.
Vulcher was a 1970s-era fanzine about Bloomington-based punk band, the Gizmos. Original Gizmos member Eddie Flowers and co-editors Kelsey Simpson and Sam Murphy revived Vulcher in 2016 and expanded its content to include interviews, think pieces and reviews about the punk scene from multiple contributors. I picked up their third and most recent issue for summer 2017 at Gluestick. In addition to editing Vulcher, Kelsey Simpson (Managing Director) and Sam Murphy (Print Management) helped to organize the event.
Poems from the Jail Dorm
Poems from the Jail Dorm is a collection of poetry written by men who are incarcerated at the Monroe County Jail in Bloomington. This zine, which was published by Monster House Press and the New Life Poetry Workshop, includes contributions from Craig Grimes, Pouncho, Tio, Blake Likeness, Brad Viera, Max E. Cody S. Waldrip, William D. Booker, Brett Wagner, J.G., Satish Brown, Azul X, and Drama. In the forward, John-Michael Bloomquist and Frank Brown Cloud explain, “Poetry is a midwife delivering truth from fact, drawing forth from cold information the reality we need to feel: mass incarceration endangers us all.” Poems from the Jail Dorm folds out to reveal dozens of poems about relationships, childhood, the criminal justice system, and day-to-day life, written from the perspective of people who are confined to jail. Unfortunately, the Monroe County Jail has decided to discontinue the program that enables this zine to published. Monster House Press is working towards getting this program reinstated. More information about this effort can be found on their website.
Beyond the zine vendors, Gluestick 2017 included music, workshops, demonstrations, and speakers in their lineup. Many of these scheduled events were geared towards inspiring newbies to create zines and giving them tools to do just that. In addition to this focus, the event’s planners have also been working to archive and display zines so that they can be appreciated artistically and remembered after their runs are over. In conjunction with Gluestick, the Herron School of Art and Design curated “Staple, Fold, Riot: The Art and Subculture of Zine Making,” an exhibit that showcases the work of regional zinesters. This free exhibit will run at its current location in the Basile Gallery until July 15th, 2017.